Michigan has become the first state to ban the National Security Agency’s intrusive data collection practices by passing a law that prohibits law enforcement and state agencies from turning over personal data to the federal government without due process…
The text of the bill states that its purpose is “to prohibit this state and certain other governmental agents, employees, and entities in this state from assisting a federal agency in obtaining certain forms of data without a warrant; and to prohibit certain uses of certain data collected without a warrant.”
According to the new law, the state and its political subdivisions “shall not assist, participate with, or provide material support or resources to a federal agency to enable it to collect or to facilitate in the collection or use of a person’s electronic data or metadata,” unless at least or more of the following criteria are met:
The person has given informed consent.
The action is pursuant to a warrant that is based upon probable cause and particularly describes the person, place,
or thing to be searched or seized.
The action is in accordance with a legally recognized exception to warrant requirements.
The action will not infringe on any reasonable expectation of privacy the person may have.
This state or a political subdivision of this state collected the electronic data or metadata legally.”
As the Washington Examiner reported, the new law is “the biggest accomplishment yet growing out of efforts to block water to a massive NSA data-storage center in Bluffdale, Utah.” Similar laws have been proposed and have fallen short in states such as Alaska, Maryland, South Carolina, and Washington.
Michigan State Rep. Martin Howrylak, a sponsor of the bill, told the Examiner that he believes its passage “speaks to the fact that a lot of the domestic surveillance of American citizens is highly unpopular.
While Howrylak said he thinks the law makes “a strong court case saying this is what the state intends,” he hopes other states will join in by passing similar legislation, in an effort to cripple the NSA’s illegal activities.
Next month marks 5 years since former NSA contractor Edward Snowden released a trove of classified documents revealing that the United States government was routinely collecting metadata from innocent American citizens without warrants, and using “national security” to justify its actions.
While the NSA’s warrantless data collection was ruled illegal by a court in June 2015, it has continued and the government has attempted to cover up its illegal actions by writing them into law. The latest example of this occurred earlier this year when Congress reauthorized Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
The FBI’s “legitimate national security purpose” could be justified by just about any reason the agency chooses to give, and agents would only need supervisory authority in order to search Americans’ metadata.
By signing the Fourth Amendment Rights Protection Act into law, the state of Michigan is taking a stand against the federal government’s unconstitutional practice of stealing data from innocent Americans without a warrant, and it is setting a precedent for other states in the country to follow.